…Was the Woman’s Place

I am dipping back into the trove of tracts that I received from “Secret Satan #1”. The tract I am looking at today is called, “The Home From The Beginning” and it is interesting to say the least. One thing I think we can all agree is that the Bible is quite one-sided when it comes to marriage, but I’ll get into that.

The tract starts off with Matthew 19:3-6 where the Pharisees ask Jesus about divorce:

3And there came unto him Pharisees, trying him, and saying, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4And he answered and said, Have ye not read, that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh? 6So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (American Standard Version)

Bible Gateway, ASV

Basically, the Pharisees ask Jesus if it’s lawful for a man to divorce (put away) his wife for any cause. Jesus quotes Genesis as a wordy way of saying, “Nope.” He does go on further to say that a man who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery. However, if a man commits sexual immorality…oh, wait, that’s not possible in the Bible. A man can have as many wives and concubines as he can afford.

The next section is a short one called (they all start with the tract title), “…Was a Divine Home”. Apparently it was divine because God cloned Adam to make Eve (he used Adam’s rib to make Eve) which means that Adam would essentially procreate with his twin sister. This is followed by “…a Father and Mother Leaving Home”.

This section makes little sense in the context of Genesis because it talks about Adam and Eve being one and leaving mother and father…except that they didn’t have parents. Adam was, according to Genesis, made from dust. I mean, it makes genealogy really easy. It goes on to talk about how they were united as one. After that, we get to the part that’s used to justify same-sex marriage.

“The Home From the Beginning Was Between a Man and a Woman”, except when it wasn’t. There are several examples in Genesis alone where one of the main players (like Abram/Abraham) is permitted to take a servant or his wife’s sister (See: My Biblical Marriage List  for more). Marriage is not between one man and one woman in the Bible, but it is between one woman and one man. That is, a woman can only serve one husband, but she has to share him if he so desires. The tract mentions that man was not made for man or woman for woman. It lists verses both from the Old and New Testaments that purportedly condemn homosexuality. I want to talk about this further in next week’s Saturday Sermon. It goes on to the section, “…Was the Place to Have Children”.

According to this tract, God told the first parents to “be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth,” which is from Gen. 1:28. The problem is that the prior verse says:

27And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Bible Gateway, ASV

It is clear by reading Genesis that Chapters 1 and 2 were written by different author and in different traditions. The tract skips all of Chapter 2 and 3 and jumps straight to Chapter 4 and the conception of Cain and Abel and then skips to the end of chapter to the bearing of Seth. Really, none of this has anything to do with the topic at hand which is trying to justify what a home is. This is cherry-picking a narrative story. It concludes with, “This is God’s plan for bringing children into this world. But today, about one half of children are born out of wedlock, with no father figure to be seen.” There’s no father figure to be seen in Genesis. Using the story of Genesis is a really crappy example because it says nothing about the “raising” of Cain, Abel, and Seth. It simply speaks broadly of the procreative process and that’s it. Also, there’s no mention of marriage in Genesis at all. Adam took Eve to be his wife, no ceremony, no contract, no “I do’s”.  The next section, “…Was to be a Headship-Subjection Affair” meaning that the man was the head of the household and he shall rule over the wife.

Finally, I get back to the one-sidedness argument for the Bible with the section, “…Was to be as Long as We Both Shall Live”. Well, Johnie Edwards (the author of this tract) really sees only what he wants to read. He quotes Romans 7: 2-3 as his justification.

2For the woman that hath a husband is bound by law to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband. 3So then if, while the husband liveth, she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if the husband die, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be joined to another man.

Bible Gateway, ASV

Notice that it says nothing about the man being bound by law to his wife. Also, if the husband dies, the woman (or women) is practically required to find another husband for survival at that point. Women couldn’t inherit property or have their own money, so they had to find a husband. On the other hand, if the wife dies, the man probably has a few in reserve, so that’s not a problem.

So that is my look at this tract, “The Home From The Beginning”. I hope you enjoy these in-depth looks from my own perspective. If you have tracts that you would like to share, DM me on Twitter (@AlienBiblical) and either send me a link or I will let you know where you can send them.

Saturday Sermon: Biblical Marriage

This week starts what I am sure will be a multiple part series on “Biblical Marriage”. Please note, I am a middle-aged, single guy who has never been married, so take that as you will. Every time marriage comes up in the news media, some over-zealous religious nut will remind us that God defined marriage in the Bible as between one man and one woman. Well, he defined marriage alright, but he defines it in a lot of different ways.

This past week on the blog, we see the word “marries” for the first time in Genesis 24. This definition of marriage states that a father will send his servant out to his homeland (the father’s, not the servant’s) and pick out a woman that offers him and his camels water, put a ring on her nose and bracelets on her arms, and then pay off her family and take her with him where she may or may not ever see her family again. When he gets home, she will meet her husband-to-be for the first time ever and they will enter his dead mother’s tent and he will “know” her. They are now married. To quote my girlfriend, “Ah, rooooooomaaaaaance.” There is no priest, no reception, no open bar, no wedding band, no wedding at all. Just sex in a tent, that’s it.

A son can also be sent out to find a wife of his own at the urging his mother, provided the bride-to-be is also his cousin. There are also no limits on how many wives a man can take. He can two sisters, then take his cousin as a third (although, in the story I’m referencing, she was a half-cousin if that’s a thing).

So, to review, the “Biblical” definition of marriage:

  1. Father’s servant finds a wife for his son using camels.
  2. Man marries cousin.
  3. Man marries a pair of sisters and his own cousin.

I will keep a running list on the blog as I continue reading.


Same as the past few weeks, not much to report here. I am seeing an uptick in visitors which is what I was hoping for. I see some accounts liking posts that I’m not sure are actually reading them. Based on their subject matter, I’m pretty sure that they would object.

Genesis Chapters 26, 27, & 28

Chapter 26

What a way to start the second half of Genesis, with a story we’ve heard twice before. OK, stop me if you’ve heard this one, a married couple settle in a town as aliens, but the man is afraid that the townspeople will kill him so he says that his wife is his sister. Yeah.

Once again, it’s Abimelech who was on the receiving end of this deception, but this time it’s Isaac and Rebekah pulling it.

8 When Isaac had been there a long time, King Abimelech of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw him fondling his wife Rebekah. 9 So Abimelech called for Isaac, and said, “So she is your wife! Why then did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I thought I might die because of her.”

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Gen. 26, 8-9, p. 72). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

You would think that Abimelech would be wise to these shenanigans, but he’s not.

Isaac planted crops and reaped a lot more than he planted. He got rich with plants and flocks and herds and the Philistines hated him, so they cut off his water supply by filling in all of the wells that Abraham dug (or rather, Abraham’s servants). So Isaac moved and dug new wells (or rather his servants), but the shepherds told him that the water was theirs. This is pretty much the same story as it was in chapters 12 and 20. I hope we’re done with it now. One note  up to this point, according to the Oxford Bible Commentary, the Philistines that King Abimelech led are not the same as the tribe of Goliath.

Finally in this chapter, Esau ended up adding more fuel to my upcoming marriage sermon by marrying two Hittite women. Apparently, Rebekah didn’t like them, but we really get no elaboration on that.

Chapter 27

We come to the chapter where Isaac is old and wants to give his blessing to Esau, but he can’t do it yet because he wants to have a feast. Rebekah overhears the exchange and hatches a plan that involves more repetition about savory food such as his father loved. We all know the story, food, brother’s clothes, goat skins because Jacob isn’t hairy. Isaac, God’s chosen one whom he has blessed, is fooled by a kid in kid’s clothing.

Referring back to AJ Jacob’s book, The Year Of Living Biblically, the author talked with one of his rabbi consultants about this story. In Hebrew tradition, Jacob was the wise choice to inherit his father’s fortune. Esau was wild and erratic, and remember, he sold his birthright for stew. I hope that was the greatest stew that he ever ate in his entire life, because that’s all he ever got.

Anyway, Jacob was smart enough to hightail it before Esau came home. The good news is that Isaac eats twice. The bad news is that Esau was pissed. I do wonder how legal this story is. I mean, Jacob deceived his blind father into blessing him. Couldn’t Isaac rescind his blessing if he wanted to and call the sale of Esau’s birthright to Jacob for stew invalid? I might have to discuss this with a legal expert. Rebekah sends Jacob away to stay with Uncle Laban (her brother) in Haran until Esau gets over it…gets over losing his birthright for stew and losing his father’s blessing due to some strategically placed goat skins.

Chapter 28

There’s a ladder in this image.

Isaac officially blesses Jacob and forbids him from marrying a Canaanite woman and instead directs him to marry one of his cousins. I mean, I guess he has to keep it in the family. Also, hey, what’s wrong with Canaanite women?

Meanwhile, Esau married one of Ishmael’s daughters, which would make her his half-cousin, I guess. This means that he now has three wives.

Jacob sleeps at a “certain place” and has the ladder dream which is just more “I will give you this land” because of course he will. Also, Jacob uses a rock for a pillow (which is softer than many pillows I’ve slept on in hotel rooms) which he them poured oil on. He called the place Bethel even though this “certain place” was already called Luz. This chapter ends with another reference to tithing.

Genesis Chapters 23, 24, & 25

Chapter 23

Sarah’s death and burial could have been summed up in a few sentences and maybe a eulogy for her, but it’s all about Abraham trying to buy a field from the Hittites, where he lived as an alien. They offer him any land that he wants, so he asks for Ephron son of Zohar so he could get the sweet spot with a cave. Ephron gives it to him, but it sounds like an argument because Abraham insists on paying for it. They strike a deal and Abraham has himself a cave.

Judging by the translation, this story was a poem or a song in the original Hebrew. That explains the peculiar structure and the refrain of many of the lines. I still stand by my assertion that something should have been said about Sarah.

Chapter 24

Abraham is old. He makes his servant swear an oath that he will find Isaac a wife, but he can’t find the bride-to-be in the land of Canaan. Instead, he must venture back to Abraham’s homeland. The servant traveled there, came up with the contrived criteria that would determine the correct woman, Rebekah fit said criteria, he put a (nose) ring on it, paid off her family and she went with him. She met Isaac for the first time, they went into his mother’s tent, yada yada yada, they’re married.

I glossed over the story because it’s a lot of filler and repetition. The servant states his plan, then the plan work out perfectly, and then he recounts the plan and the outcome to her family. This is either bad writing or another poem/song.

The details leading up to this include the servant swearing an oath to Abraham which ends with the servant putting his hand “under Abraham’s thigh” which means “touched his junk” which is the way oaths were sworn. According to the Oxford Bible Commentary, this would be the equivalent of swearing one’s life. I just hope that biblical literalists don’t want to bring this tradition back.

This is the longest chapter in Genesis and is also the influence for the start of a new series of Saturday Sermons about “biblical marriage”. I won’t talk much about it here except to comment that the Bible will never be accused of being a romance novel.

Chapter 25

Abraham marries [takes] another wife and has six more boys and probably an untold number of girls which, naturally, is not talked about. He gave everything he had to Isaac and gave the other kids gifts and sent them to the east away from Isaac.

Abraham dies at the age of one hundred seventy-five and Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave that he bought at the beginning of this post. God blessed Isaac and then we get a genealogy of Ishmael, because those are thrilling to read.

Apparently, God can’t point in the general direction of a woman who isn’t barren and requires divine intervention. Anyway, Rebekah gets pregnant with twins and is told that she has two nations in her womb (that can’t be pleasant) and that the older one will serve the younger. Esau was born first and came out all hairy while Jacob followed on his heel (he was gripping Esau’s heel when he was born). Esau, who Isaac loved, was a hunter while Jacob, who Rebekah loved, was the quiet type. I really hope that the parents loved the other boy as well, because that would be poor parenting.

So one day, Esau was out hunting and came home to find Jacob cooking and sold his birthright for a bowl of stew in one of the most anticlimactic scenes so far:

Esau: I’m hungry, give me some stew.

Jacob: Sell me your birthright.

Esau: I’m really hungry…okay.

…and scene. We are now halfway through the book of Genesis.